International watercolorist Jean Haines SWA is well known for her passion for working in her favourite medium, watercolour. Jean is a member of the SWA, Society for Women Artists, and won the Anthony J Lester Award in 2009 during the SWA Annual Exhibition where her work was likened to Joseph Crawhalls from the famous Glasgow Boys.
This time last year my book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" was launched and I loved being at Patchings Art Festival to sign books and demonstrate my techniques. It was fantastic.
This year I am sitting in my garden again painting florals and loving each plant as it comes into flower. In my flower book there is a chapter on how to paint white subjects and complex shapes. The phlox flowers were perfect for this demonstration as they met both challenges as a subject.
I worked the background around negative edges first using colours that to me helped make the white spaces sing.
I then began to paint around the edges of several of the focal point blooms and left some half finished for viewers imagination, of my finished piece, to complete.
Finally I always add fine detail.
The paintings on my easel as seen above show the finished phlox painting from my book. The other painting is a new work in progress and I am experimenting with it. I have used various products on this piece which I hope to share in a future demonstration. In fact I will be sharing far more very soon I am happy to say but for now as they say " Watch this space" Exciting news is coming!
Below you can see a photograph of the white phlox flowers that are blooming in my garden this year.
The seasons teach us so much. We need to enjoy each one before it is over. And all that each gives to us.
Phlox flowering in my garden
Maybe you have painted a subject a year ago and you were really pleased with the result. I painted phlox a year ago and felt this way.
Try taking a familiar subject that you know you can paint and attempt to create a new composition with either similar shades or new ones but try to improve on the art you created the year before.
Take the good parts of your previous painting and carry them into your new work and try to dismiss any elements that you didn't like in your previous work.
Become your own teacher.
It really works!
Having said that aim to see the good points of your paintings.
Try not to be overly critical!
( Lets' face it. We are all far too good at that already!)
Sadly I have had to cancel my demonstrations at Patchings Art Festival 2019 and I will not be attending this week. It is such a shame as I had so much that was new to share but I have been advised not to travel too far from home at the moment. I had a small health blip a few weeks ago and although everything seems to have settled again I just couldn't take the risk of letting everyone down at the last minute.
Ironically, since I cancelled the event my health seems to be rocketing into the far better zone which is really infuriating!
Patchings always has been a huge favourite part of my year in UK as I meet so many wonderful people there. I will however be demonstrating in London next month at the Mall Galleries which is near to my home and I will definitely be talking about my new Daniel Smith sets and how to use them along with sharing a new techniques that I am falling in love with.
Everyone has been so fantastically understanding about my cancelling this year and Chas from Patchings has extended a huge warm invitation for me to be there next year .
To everyone going to Patchings, have a wonderful time, think of me and see you next year , hopefully!
I feel I should start this blog post by thanking everyone who follows me and who reads my posts. There was a time I could over load my blog with up to three posts a day, this slowed down over time to several posts a week. Then I started travelling and when I was on tour time often went by with very long periods between posts. At the beginning of this year I was really poorly and my spirits took a nose dive. I hardly shared on my blog at all during that time. But luckily I had written my latest book. " Paint Yourself Positive".
I have taken time to read and absorb the chapters. Smiling at the positivity on each page and actually I have been kicking myself into action. What I needed to do to heal correctly was paint as well as heed the specialists advise. Not surprisingly it has worked but my painting has changed. I seem to have grown again. Leapt over another hurdle and my technique has improved.
I have even MORE excitement about colour . You may ask " Is this possible from Jean Haines?". The answer is a resounding YES!.
I sat quietly by my lily pond yesterday and painted the above watercolour of water lilies. I listened to birdsong as I worked. My puppies slept mostly by my feet although at times they naughtily crept into sections of the pond that they can easily access. I did tell them " No" but its' so hard to keep a straight face when a puppy with duckweed all over its muzzle stares intently at you trying to work out what the command is. I laughed non stop.
I think my laughter flowed into my painting as it has a happy feel to it.
This is a large piece. The smaller waterlily painting seen in my book " Paint Yourself Positive is a favourite of mine. There is something about waterlilies. Something magical. They always makes me think of Monet garden. It was a long time dream of mine to visit his garden in Giverny France and when I did I was so happy, and emotional.
Having dreams come true is very special. But they cannot unless you make some. Have you added to your wish list lately? If not, why not?
If you have never had a wish list now is the time to start. Have small wishes that are achievable and a few that may be out of reach. As one dream comes true add a new one. Just keep wishing.
I want more free time to share my news on my blog as I have so much!
Try looking at a painting you did a year ago and paint a new version of it. See if you have grown as an artist or do you like how you painted before?
Compare the "you" from today and last year and see if you can positively chnage the "you" of tormorrow!
I am thrilled to have two new sets of Daniel Smith Watercolours about to be launched and one is a shimmer set. This collection really does include some of my favourite iridescent and shimmering shades. Some I have shared previously on my blog. Some I use in subtle ways adding exciting sheen to my work that sometimes aren't easy to spot but I love it when I am asked " How did you achieve that effect?".
The following painting as seen below is a perfect example.
At the moment I have very delicate pale purple poppies growing in our cottage garden. They self seed each year and spring up absolutely everywhere. I have learnt to enjoy then rather than pull them out. After all they are nature working in the garden breaking up any idea of our flower borders being looking manicured!
I started this piece by painting the purple section of the poppies. I then added a mix of green below the flower heads, placing cling film on top to form crinkle paterns for the leaves. Next I worked the negative edge of the top of the flowers.
Next I added poppy buds and a seed head. Stems too started to appear. And this was where I could have stopped colour wise. But I selected a few of my shimmer set shades. Iridescent Ruby and Iridescent Topaz to pump up the drama in a subtle way. The sheen on my silky petals looks glorious now. You may notice subtle use of Iridescent Electric Blue too, a colour I adore!
These shades from my shimmer set work so well adding magic when combined with other colours. They give a form of light and life to a painting that is unusual, which suits me perfectly. To be honest, I love having little tricks to bring my paintings to life and its' ideal to have sets available so that others can experiment too.
Iridescent Ruby and Iridescent Topaz
Shimmer shades from my new Daniel Smith Shimmer sets
Below you can see my easel To the left is a small study just created for me to try colour ideas. To the right the painting I created whilst sat in my garden looking at the real thing. I prefer painting from life as you learn so much from how light plays and interacts on a subject rather than by working from photographs constantly.
My easel with my poppy studies , small and large. These give me ideas for techniques to be used in a later more serious painting, colour combinations and composition flow.
Artists Tip for the Day
Try hard not to only paint from photographs. Painting from life in natural light gives you far more information on colours to use, you can observe colours interacting,see genuine light and shadow. So much detail that you can miss when painting a flat image as seen in a photo. Look for something as a subject that draws you in to paint it and have a go no matter what it is.
I am hot off the phone to my publishers and I am thrilled to share the news that I will be demonstrating at the Mall Galleries in London on August 28th. I will be demonstrating three times during the day with projects from each of my books including my latest book " Paint Yourself Positive".
Actually it has been a rather tough year as my health took an unexpected nose dive, we sadly lost friends who were close to us that also hurt so much and various other things happened that were out of my control knocking me for six.
But. as always, painting lifted me back to where I usually am. High spirited, smiling and living life to the full again. I am so glad I wrote this latest book as for a change I desperately needed to heed my own advise!
" Paint Yourself Positive" has changed my life. I thought I was already a positive person but there were many ways I could enrich each day and even give myself the power to simply " be" and get the best out of each moment.
I am back to having a ball and I am so excited at being able to demonstrate and give my all to everyone who comes to see me.
I will share more news about this fabulous event soon.
But if you wish to come please mark the date in your diary, and I will be signing books that you can bring with you or buy at the venue.
No matter the time of year, my horse racing scenes are always the most requested by galleries. Still. They take time to create and build up into a really good action scene that is full of movement. These compositions are when I ironically use my "Don't race to finish a painting" technique.
We can lose so much action in a scene like this by rushing to complete a painting. We can also miss the touches in places that really do add drama and impact in a piece if we continue to work non stop rather than take our time.
I do love how this piece is developing.
My favourite to win at the moment is the jockey in red seen below. But the jockey in blue could take the lead at any time.
The point is in life, as in painting, there are times when waiting to see how things develop is far wiser than trying to force a result.
The words " I will just..............." spring to mind as I often think I will just add one more brush stroke before leaving a piece as a work in progress. That last " one more touch " can sometimes be the killing brush stroke, or yes, it can be the making of a painting.
But as artists we often have to follow our gut instinct.
My instinct is telling me this piece is nearly complete. Detail needs adding in places and "confusion" in others as in breaking up areas where blocks of colour exist at the moment. With each touch I am learning so much about the way I create and why.
We never stop learning, in life and in art.
And for me the journey is still as exciting if not more so than reaching my destination.
I am in no race!
Close up of my favourite jockey and horse
Artist Tip for the day
Don't race to finish a painting
Enjoy every addition of colour and take your time to see where it is really needed.
Study your favourite sections of any painting and work out why they work, is there more or less detail there? Are the colour combinations there working better?
Always ask questions and strive to take in the best answers!
The rooster theme is continuing in my studio and I have almost completed my new larger composition. This piece was very dependant on the pigment interaction of my earlier painting, shared last week on my blog, in a recent post. This time my wash colours were placed deliberately knowing that the finished piece would be a rooster where as the last wash was painted with random colours and I had no idea of what the outcome would be.
Sometimes it is harder painting this way as my brain sees where to put colour so the accidental and often beautiful watermarks that are created randomly in an unplanned wash are missing. Here with this method I am more in control so for the artist that likes planning ahead this method of creating may suit you best.
I added the head section first on my pre placed first wash. If the head isn't right in the early staeges of a composition there is no point in working further, Next I added the rooster body, but I have done very little to the tail feathers as the wash and pigment interaction in this section looked so gorgeous as they were I didn't want to over shadow them with my own brushwork.
I could have left the rooster on white paper as it was but I was enjoying myself so much that before I knew it I had added hints of chicken wire in the distance,and then straw on the ground in the foreground.
I can still see things I would like to add but for now I am stopping, taking a break so that I can look at this piece with new eyes in the morning. I have an idea that just might make this rooster "pop" even more and if I do use the idea I will share it on my blog at a later stage.
It's wonderful how one painting will lead to several others on the same theme. I already have an idea for two new paintings from thisone but I may want a break from roosters first!
If you are unsure of whether you have finished a painting, or not, always leave it as it is until the next day so you can see the piece then with fresh eyes.
Caution: If you work further when you are unsure you could over work the piece and regret your haste.
Take your time deciding your next moves when you have almost finished a painting!
Never stop experimenting with pigments and having fun with colour.
I meet so many artists who have their own favourite colours and they stay with them year after year which is brilliant if this suits you as a personality. My problem is I am a Gemini and I get very bored very quickly. So to use the same colours and paint similar subjects each day would kill my creative spirit. It has in the past when I was first learning how to paint in watercolour and to the point I thought I actually didn't like painting. I now cannot imagine what my life would be like without colour and painting in it. I am also over joyed that I discovered Daniel Smith watercolour shades as they are so incredibly exciting to use. They suit me so well.
Yesterday I painted a rooster on top of a wash that hadn't even started out to be a rooster. It was just a wash. I shared it on my blog. This explains the unusual colour combination and effects in the piece. I enjoyed painting that rooster so much that I couldn't wait to start a new painting of another one today.
But now my technique is different. Instead of simply throwing colour on paper and waiting to see what the subject could be from the result I deliberately planned my wash to include a rooster.
I knew from yesterdays completed painting that my new rooster today was going to be blue but I didn't know which shades to use. I have fallen in love hook , line and sinker with Daniel Smith Lunar Blue so that was my first choice. I know it granulates as a pigment and forms wonderful watermarks so that was shade choice number one. However using one shade alone can sometimes lead to boring results so I needed a second shade to give the Lunar Blue a kick and for this I opted for gorgeous Daniel Smith Moonglow. These two shades together form terrific patterns.
So my first wash with watermarks, colour swirls, early feather tail shape and movement can be seen below. Isn't it beautiful? Fresh, clean and exciting.
Rooster first wash using Daniel Smith Watercolors.
Of course there will be red in the head section, and gold for the feet. Perhaps violet for the under shadows of the feathers. This is going to be a beautiful piece. And I can't wait to finish it but that is not good. I know from experience that racing to complete a painting can often kill it. So yes, I have created a second similar wash so I can work on the two taking the best ideas and brush work into each separate painting.
I am happy.
I am never happier than when I am painting and I am loving my new feeling of excitement and joy in my work. I hope you can feel it too.
You know, rather than me tell you my favourite double colour combination I would love to hear yours. Perhaps you could reply to this post letting me and others know what your favourite pigment interaction colours are. And if you haven't tried new colours for ages this post could be just the boost to make you search for new favourites
What a great day to be alive. I now walk our two Australian Labradoodles daily before heading for my studio. Each day I see some new treasure I wish to paint and this routine has been a part of my life for so long. When I didn't have dogs for the period since losing our beloved Bailey I just couldn't face walking in my favourite spots. It didn't feel right without him. But now my soul is lifted by these two exuberant four legged little beings , new to our family, who are seeing adventure in every daily walk and its' wonderful. Seeing their joy certainly adds to my own.
Their first walks saw the hedgerow smothered in tiny May blossoms. Now gone but not in my mind. Hence today's blog post. You may think did I use masking fluid? No, not at all. I find masking fluid use leaves hard edges that are sometimes far too stiff to soften to add the necessary life needed in a piece.
I started my painting with a vibrant colourful wash for my background leaving some sections pale where the white flowers would latere be placed.
I then worked negative work around clumps of the tiny blossoms before picking out one or two individual small flowers to be my main focal points. As seen in the close up below. There is now a variety of white in the petals as some are pale blue giving a feeling of depth and shadow in my painting
Negative work around each blossom brings each flower to life.
I want depth in this piece so I have used Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground , Mars Black, under some flowers and this works fantastically as a technique.
The full painting can be seen below. I still have a lot of work to do on this painting but it is coming to life so well , so far.
May Blossom, full painting as a work in progress
I have received some wonderful messages from friends and followers who have missed me whilst I have been poorly. I am back! Feeling great and getting better by the day. Working from home for a while which is doing me the world of good and as you can see I am experimenting and sharing again.